After being rescued by my knight, I stayed by her side until the soccer team was done with practice.
Embarrassed to be protected by a girl? Tsk, tsk, tsk, how narrow-minded. All I needed to do was embrace my maiden heart and my heart was overflowing with joy. I wanted to be the one to protect her, but being protected wasn't a bad feeling either.
On our way back to the clubroom, I asked Arisugawa about the celebration that Kirisaki said we would have.
"Yes, that's right. We'll likely be going to a city outside Hanakana, but I want to investigate before I give you all options for what we can do on the day."
I was a little uncomfortable with the idea of going outside Hanakana, especially if it was with my club members, but for them I felt that I could confront my past.
"That sounds good. Did you already bring it up to Zakushi?" I asked.
"Indeed. He didn't have a problem with leaving the details to Kirisaki and I."
We soon arrived at the clubroom where I took my bag and then left school. On the way home, the pain had subsided, but I still felt a sting every time I touched my nose. Luckily it wasn't bleeding, but I would need some time to recover. Nonetheless, it shouldn't prove to be a problem to my weekend plans.
'Hmm, I guess I should tell her about this in advance.'
At dinnertime with Ms. Aria, I told her about the celebration.
"I'll be going out on Saturday so I'll make you a lunchbox. Tell me if you have any requests."
"Going out? With your boyfriend?" she asked.
Since I couldn't tell if she was serious or not, I just glanced at her clueless expression and stayed silent.
Due to my lack of a response, she clicked her tongue and said, "You're no fun."
Glad to evade her trap for once, I replied, "I'm not going to let you tease me forever."
"I guess not, I suppose you'll be having your crush tease you soon."
I quickly put my hand over my mouth to hide my blush, but I knew that she saw through me.
"Fufu, still an innocent boy, eh? And to think you're going for the harem route."
"Harem route? What are you talking about?" I asked in genuine confusion.
"I heard that you were walking hand-in-hand with Ms. Kirisaki down the hall," she said with an amused expression.
Since it was true I couldn't completely deny it, but I franticly tried to come up with an excuse.
"Tha, that was just, it sort of happened and-"
"I understand, I understand. You're really enjoying your youth."
The initial accomplishment I felt for dodging her first trap, had been erased by embarrassment. I had a crush on Arisugawa, that was certain. But! Saying that I didn't feel a little happy when Kirisaki grabbed my hand would be a total lie. Seriously, I'm sure even a faithful married gay man wouldn't be completely immune to her cuteness.
As I turned bright red, I saw the smile on her face growing wider. Like her favourite soap opera, I was sure she found joy in seeing me embroiled in drama.
And she had more drama to ask me about too.
"By the way, I heard Ms. Kirisaki's fan club is after you. What are your chances of making it to the weekend?"
"Ugh, don't remind me. I can swear I felt my life in danger at least three times on the way home. I'm hoping they won't do anything because I'm friends with her, but I think they're just waiting for a good reason to take care of me."
"Hahaha! That sounds like you're in quite the pickle there."
"Don't laugh! You're a teacher, shouldn't you be stopping those guys?" I asked with a tiny piece of hope.
I knew I was just grasping at straws, but anything would do at this point.
"Oh don't worry, as long as you don't make her upset or get too close they won't do anything. Probably."
"You can't even be certain?! My days really are numbered."
In the end, she told me that I couldn't expect any help from the staff unless I could find out the members of the KKFC and proof of their rule violations. However, she also told me that their leader was supposedly someone that couldn't be expelled. I didn't know how that was possible but she didn't seem to be joking, so that was just more bad news for me.
'Out of the frying pan and into the fire, huh?'
For the next few days, I lived in more fear than when I was revealed as a member of the Life Assist Club. I could handle the petty jealousy of my classmates, but the gazes that held the intent to kill freaked me out. Eventually I would become so sensitive to these gazes that I gained the ability to instantly tell whether someone wanted to kill me or not, but that was a story for another time.
Fortunately, while it wasn't the most comfortable time, I wasn't in any danger. Even while I was doing requests with Arisugawa, since news of what happened last time had spread, no one did anything to me. I wished I could command this much fear and respect, but Kenta did flinch whenever we faced each other so there was that.
After a time that felt both too long and too short, it was Friday, the day before our celebration. We dedicated club time to a meeting to discuss the details of our outing and decided to go to Kimisato Town, which was farther than Shitou City. The decisive factor in choosing this destination, was due to the fact that there was an amusement park near there that Arisugawa could use her connections to get us free tickets to.
I hadn't been to an amusement park in years so I was extremely excited. After all, the last time I went to one... ehem, never mind.
My anticipation was so great that once club was done, I left the room in an excellent mood, and ended up forgetting my bag.
I rushed back to the clubroom, to get my bag before the door was locked, and was able to make it with time to spare. Right as I placed my hand on the door, I heard Arisugawa and Amakawa talking. Normally this wouldn't matter very much, but I heard a term that brought all thoughts to a close.
Amakawa asked, "Who was that on the phone?"
To which Arisugawa answered, "The ones back home. Telling me to keep in contact with my fiancé."
After this point, I didn't care about who was saying what. I quickly sunk in an ever compassing sea of sludge.
"Oh him... cut off yet?"
"No ... more time. Should be..."
"Hmm, well ... can't be helped. I'll stay with you."
Eventually, not only their conversation, the rustling of the trees, the youthful noises in the distance, the cry of pigeons, everything faded from my mind, replaced by that one term. 'Fiance'.
Normally I was quick to deny the reality forced upon me, but this case was different.
There was still room for it to be a misunderstanding, but I didn't want to keep holding on to such a hope. I berated it as disgraceful.
If she already had someone who she had promised herself to, then I should shut up and accept it, that was the ideal. And I wasn't someone who could give up on his ideals so easily. If I was, then I wouldn't have made that bet with the headmaster.
Even after learning about what kind of school this was, I refused to bend my principles and went straight to him to protest. It would be no surprise if he expelled me right then and there, but instead he offered me a compromise. To prove that my definition of true love was better than his, we made a bet.
To win, the first girl I confessed to would have to reciprocate my feelings, or if I accepted the confession that a girl gave me, she would not regret her decision even if we split up. The deadline was by the end of my first year.
These conditions weren't very favourable to one who had never had a girlfriend like me, but I agreed to the bet since I would be exempt from the school's unorthodox rules if I won.
Heh, oh how naive I was. To actually believe it would be so simple. If it wasn't bad enough that I fell for a girl that was way out of my league, she already belonged to someone else.
Hahaha, it was such a funny situation, and yet, why...
Why, aren't I laughing?
Why does my chest hurt so bad?
Why are my eyes blurry with tears?